Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad
Health Information for Travelers
If an American citizen becomes seriously ill or injured abroad, a U. S. consular officer can assist in locating appropriate medical services and informing family or friends. If necessary, a consular officer can also assist in the transfer of funds from the United States. However, payment of hospital and other expenses is the responsibility of the traveler.
Before going abroad, learn what medical services your health insurance will cover overseas. If your health insurance policy provides coverage outside the United States, REMEMBER to carry both your insurance policy identity card as proof of such insurance and a claim form. Although many health insurance companies will pay "customary and reasonable" hospital costs abroad, very few will pay for your medical evacuation back to the United States. Medical evacuation can easily cost $10,000 and up, depending on your location and medical condition.
The social security medicare program does not provide coverage for hospital or medical costs outside the U.S.A.
Senior citizens may wish to contact the American Association of Retired Persons for information about foreign medical care coverage with Medicare supplement plans.
To facilitate identification in case of an accident, complete the information page on the inside of your passport providing the name, address and telephone number of someone to be contacted in an emergency.
A traveler going abroad with any preexisting medical problems should carry a letter from the attending physician, describing the medical condition and any prescription medications, including the generic name of prescribed drugs. Any medications being carried overseas should be left in their original containers and be clearly labeled. Travelers should check with the foreign embassy of the country they are visiting to make sure any required medications are not considered to be illegal narcotics.
Additional information, including disease and immunization advice, risks in particular countries, and other health guidance, is available on the Travelers' Health web page from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC also maintains the international travelers' hotline at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747).
For detailed information on physicians abroad, the authoritative reference is The Official ABMS Directory of Board Certified Medical Specialists, published for the American Board of Medical Specialists and its certifying member boards. This publication should be available in your local library. For more information, please see http://www.abms.org/publications.asp#official. U.S. embassies and consulates abroad maintain lists of hospitals and physicians, and many of these lists are posted on the embassy or consulate web site. Major credit card companies also can provide the names of local doctors and hospitals abroad.
Some countries require foreign visitors to have inoculations or medical tests before entering. Before traveling, consult our brochure on Foreign Entry Requirements , and check the latest entry requirements with the foreign embassy of the country to be visited.
Reprinted with the permission of the Department of State.
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